Segmented Flow Reactors for Nanocrystal Synthesis



In the past decade microreactors have emerged as a compelling technology for the highly controlled synthesis of colloidal nanocrystals, offering multiple advantages over conventional batch synthesis methods (including improved levels of control, reproducibility, and automation). Initial work in the field employed simple continuous phase reactors that manipulate miscible streams of a single reagent phase. Recently, however, there has been increasing interest in segmented flow reactors that use an immiscible fluid to divide the reagent phase into discrete slugs or droplets. Key advantages of segmented flow include the elimination of velocity dispersion (a significant cause of polydispersity) and greatly reduced susceptibility to reactor fouling. In this progress report we review the operation of segmented flow microreactors, their application to the controlled synthesis of nanocrystals, and some of the principal challenges that must be addressed before they can become a mainstream technology for the controlled production of nanomaterials.